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"They're not doing legitimate work" complains the agitated woman, pointing at a group of teens on the public library's computers. "They should be doing schoolwork, not watching YouTube." I remind her that they are patrons, too, and what they do with their computer time is up to them. The woman stomps off in a huff and waits impatiently in the corner for her turn.
Sound familiar? Like it or not, YouTube looms large in teens' lives. Fully 57 percent of youth online watch videos, according to a Pew Internet & American Life study. And more and more are creating and sharing clips of their own making. With online engagement such an integral part of their world, Washington state's King Gounty Library System (KGLS) decided to meet kids on their own turf by launching Read.Flip.Win., a video component of its summer reading program for teens.
Summer reading initiatives are core services at many public libraries and KCLS (www.kcls.org) is no exception. Our program, "Read Three, Get One Free" (www.kels.org/goodreads1/teen/read_three.cfm), in which teens write three reviews and receive a complimentary book, has been a successful one. But in 2008, we decided to ramp things up with Read.Flip.Win. (RFW). We invited teens to create and …